Rebekka Andersen Chairs SIGDOC 2017 and Presents Workshops on State of Education in Technical Communication
In August, Rebekka Andersen chaired SIGDOC 2017, the Association for Computing Machinery’s Special Interest Group on the Design of Communication Conference, held in Halifax, Nova Scotia. SIGDOC 2017 featured keynotes by Dr. Karel Vredenburg, lead designer at IBM, and Rigo award winner Dr. Karen Schriver, President of KSA Communication Design & Research, and author of the foundational text Dynamics in Document Design. It also featured pre-conference workshops, the SIGDOC research network, ignite talks, and an industry panel on new trends in the field, as well as other panels.
Andersen and Carlos Evia from Virginia Tech led the pre-conference workshop, Academia/Industry Workshop: Preparing Students to be Leaders and Innovators in Technical Communication. Sponsored by Adobe and the UC Davis University Writing Program, the workshop brought together industry professionals and educators for a structured, interactive discussion focused on what it means to be a technical communicator today and how best to prepare students to be leaders and innovators in the rapidly changing profession of technical communication.
The workshop was one in a series being conducted as part of a multi-staged project intended to gather data that will help the field of technical communication understand how best to prepare undergraduate students to practice and research at what Andersen and Evia call the “engineering level” of the profession. This level requires skills in abstraction, systems thinking, computational thinking, and business analysis in addition to more traditional humanities-based skills in rhetorical analysis, writing, and information design.
Dr. Andersen and Dr. Evia conducted a second workshop at the 2017 Center for Information-Development Management (CIDM) Best Practices Conference in Burlington, Vermont in September. In addition, they presented on the panel, State of Education in Technical Communication, which included members from industry and academia. The Conference brought together the most highly skilled and talented managers in the field of information development from across the US and internationally to facilitate the sharing of information about current trends, best practices, and developments within the industry, from information development to training and support.